Did you know that improper body mechanics when performing the simplest tasks can be detrimental to your physical health? At Unique Options, we strive to ensure that all of our staff and clients are practicing proper body mechanics and ergonomics while they are working at any type of job. We've implemented tools and tips to help everyone work smarter at our own facilities, and have put together a list of what you can do to improve the ergonomics in your everyday life!
What is Ergonomics?
The word ‘ergonomics’ can be defined as ‘the study of work.’ This means finding the right fit for each individual and job. In order to maintain this balance, ergonomics works to find adaptations with work placement, environment, and design. When looking to eliminate and reduce the rate of workplace injuries, ergonomics focuses on with every employee’s abilities and limitations. The following examples are common types of ergonomic hazards:
- Repetitive Movements
- Forceful Movements
- Improper Postures
- Improper Workstations
- Improper Tools/Equipment
Let’s go over a few ways you can implement ergonomic solutions to improve your working conditions:
Chances are you’re currently sitting at a desk and are in front of a computer. The way your chair is positioned and how you are sitting could potentially be causing stress and strain on your entire body. Any office chair that you will be sitting in for long periods of time should ideally have the ability to adjust the height, back, and arm rests. These types of chairs give you lumbar support. Additionally, your feet should rest flat on the floor or on a footrest if you suffer from lower back pain. Overall, you should be able to sit comfortably and straight, without slouching or hunching to work, in every chair you sit in for long periods of time. As an added bonus, always make sure to rotate positions from sitting to standing every 20 to 30 minutes
Not all jobs require you to sit, and being on your feet all day can be tiring. By incorporating good posture into your ergonomic routine, you can prevent future injuries. Make sure to always stand tall, in order to allow the curves in your back to remain neutral. When you slouch you create more stress on your back, and your energy diminishes, which is why it is important to bring your work closer to the middle of your body. Shifting your weight between your legs, and remembering not to lock your knees, is also important when standing properly.
If your job requires lifting, make sure to always turn your entire body in the direction of the objects you’re lifting, instead of just twisting. Any object you are lifting should be close to your body, and never try and lift something that is extremely heavy. Proper body mechanics for lifting entails bending your knees, keeping your back straight as you lean, and then straightening upright as you lift. When you need to bend down to lift up something light or quickly, try using the ‘golfer lift,’ which is accomplished by bending one knee, pivoting off the floor with the opposite leg, and bending over. Always hold onto a table or chair for support when squatting or lifting, whenever possible.
Do your eyes ever feel tired or dry? Do you suffer from headaches at work? This could be due to poor lighting or glares of light surrounding your space. To minimize visual issues due to improper lighting, make sure your computer screens and lights are properly position and adjusted. Use tasks lights to help focus light onto areas of your workspace that you’re using the most. Also, try adding glare covers for your computer monitors to reduce stress on your eyes, as well as placing it directly within your natural line of vision, about 12 to 15 inches away. Whenever possible, your best option is to always opt for natural light!
Learn more about ergonomics and proper body mechanics by heading over to the OSHA website and start working better today!